*ITF trains 45,000
James Emejo in Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo thursday urged the youths to acquire hands-on skills to stand a better chance of employment as “paper qualification although important, was gradually being overtaken by hand-on-skills because of their marketability”.
He said: “Therefore, I will strongly encourage all Nigerian youth to acquire hand-on-skills. When combined with paper qualification, the sky is your limit..”
The VP gave the charge at the official closing ceremony of the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP) where 11,000 trainees graduated in Abuja.
He said the event was an outcome of the policy thrust of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, which is anchored on revamping the economy, fighting corruption, reduction of poverty and the creation of jobs for the teeming unemployed Nigerians.
He added that the focus areas were arrived at given the state of the economy inherited at inauguration in 2015.
Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Osinbajo said close to four years of the current administration, “We have achieved most of these targets through the implementation of social investment programmes like N-Power, Trader Money and the full implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which have had varied impact on all sectors of the National Economy.”
He said: “What has, however, remained the greatest challenge of the administration is harnessing the potentials of our very youthful population for them to contribute meaningfully to the growth of the national economy as entrepreneurs or as employees.
“Recall that United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) has projected that by year 2050, Nigeria’s population will hit 500 million. When tied with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) estimates that over 26 million Nigerians are unemployed despite the numerous initiatives of the Federal Government, it became obvious that more needed to be done.”
He said: “To this end, we encourage hitherto comatose parastatals with mandates for skills acquisition to train Nigerians as a pathway to job creation and poverty reduction by equipping them with entrepreneurial and employability skills.
“One Agency that has been at the forefront of this charge is the Industrial Training Fund (ITF). Apart from the graduation of the over 11,000 trainees today, I am aware that the Agency in the last two years alone trained over 450,000 Nigerians particularly the youth that were all empowered with start-up packs to start their own businesses.
“I am equally aware that of the 450,000 trained, 90 per cent of the beneficiaries have gone on to become entrepreneurs that are even employing others.”
Osinbajo said: “Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, even as I commend the ITF under Sir Joseph Ari, I must state that as laudable as this programme is, it may not achieve the desired results except all hands are on deck to ensure its overall success. Therefore, the need for greater collaboration and Inter-Agency synergy cannot be over emphasised.
“I want to use this opportunity to task our youth that as leaders of tomorrow, a lot is expected of them. I also want to assure you that as a government, we will do all that is necessary to ensure your capacities are developed and fully utilised.”
However, the ITF boss, said since its inception, the NISDP has equipped over 150,000 Nigerians with skills for employability and entrepreneurship.
He said its commitment to skills acquisition was based on the fact that it is the most sustainable solution to combatting unemployment, reducing poverty and youth restiveness in the country.
He said: “It is an incontrovertible fact that any society that neglects the development of its human capital is bound to retrogress in terms of growth and development. Until the inauguration of the Buhari administration, Nigeria was a perfect example of such society, so much so that even in the face of existing vacancies in several sectors of the national economy, youths roamed the streets without any form of gainful employment giving rise to crimes and other social vices that still bedevil our dear nation today.”
He said: “This phase of the programme, which was completed shortly before the 2019 elections, trained over 11,000 Nigerians in various trade areas namely: welding and fabrication, plumbing and pipe-fitting, tailoring, aluminum, tiling, Plaster of Paris (POP) as well as photography. These trades were carefully selected based on their potential to directly impact the national economy.”